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Mario Lemieux - Wayne Gretzky - Mark Messier

In 1989-1990, the Edmonton Oilers won their 5th Stanley Cup in 7 years -- their first one without Wayne Gretzky who was now with the Los Angeles Kings, leading the NHL with 142 points. While Mario Lemieux officially had the highest NHL base salary, Wayne Gretzky was by far making more money with numerous very lucrative endorsement deals. They were the only 2 NHLers making over a million a year in base salary.

Rank Player Team NHL Salary ($US) In today's  $
1 Mario Lemieux Pittsburgh $2,000,000 $4,040,323
2 Wayne Gretzky Los Angeles $1,720,000 $3,474,677
3 Mark Messier Edmonton $837,142 $1,691,161
4 Steve Yzerman Detroit $700,000 $1,414,113
5 Bryan Trottier NY Islanders $575,000 $1,161,593
6 Larry Robinson Los Angeles $550,000 $1,111,089
7 Denis Savard Chicago $525,000 $1,060,585
8 Michel Goulet Quebec / Chicago $507,000 $1,024,222
9 Raymond Bourque Boston $500,000 $1,010,081
9 Ron Hextall Philadelphia $500,000 $1,010,081
9 Doug Wilson Chicago $500,000 $1,010,081
9 Dave Taylor Los Angeles $500,000 $1,010,081
9 Tim Kerr Philadelphia $500,000 $1,010,081
14 Chris Chelios Montreal $485,875 $981,546
15 Paul Coffey Pittsburgh $450,000 $909,073
16 Mike Liut Hartford / Washington $445,000 $898,972
17 Borje Salming Detroit $435,000 $878,770
18 Mark Howe Philadelphia $425,000 $858,569
19 Jari Kurri Edmonton $422,500 $853,518
20 Tomas Sandstrom NY Rangers / Los Angeles $410,000 $828,266
21 Peter Stastny Quebec / New Jersey $405,600 $819,377
22 Al Macinnis Calgary $401,375 $810,842
23 Pat Lafontaine NY Islanders $400,000 $808,065
23 Bernie Nicholls Los Angeles / NY Rangers $400,000 $808,065
23 Mike Gartner Minnesota / NY Rangers $400,000 $808,065
23 Jimmy Carson Edmonton / Detroit $400,000 $808,065

Photo credit: Upper Deck 1990-91